What is worship at its most fundamental, other than humanity’s response to God? What always begins with a revelation of God and then manifests itself in the response to that revelation – is fully realized in what we have come to know as worship. As Phil Wickham puts it, “this revelation demands a response.” In many ways, this album gives voice to our collective response to the many facets of God’s love – His powerful creativity, His promises to us in scripture and ultimately His sacrifice for us on the cross.
What we do in the face of these revelations is our worship and our worship is Response.
There has always been a thread of worship that has run through Wickham’s previous three albums, but on his fourth he was compelled to write and create from this concept of worship. Each of the eleven tracks provides the listener with a song that in any circumstance seeks to give voice to our acceptance of the myriad of ways in which God loves. In the same way that the Psalms offer expressions of joy, sorrow, repentance, hope and victory, Response gives voice to our appreciation and adoration of God in every chapter and page of life. “When I see the different aspects of who God is in different situations of life – a little glimpse of His love in how my wife and I continue to grow in our love for each other, His goodness when I find out I have a baby daughter on the way, His grace and forgiveness when I mess up for the hundredth time – my response to that love can be seen as jumping for joy where other times I respond by saying, ‘You are Holy and I am not’, humbled and falling on my face.”
These varying expressions of worship play out in each of the individual tracks. “Heaven Fall Down” begins the album as a humble yet desperate cry out to God to reveal Himself to us, making his presence known. “At Your Name (Yahweh, Yahweh),” the album’s first single, is a testament to the power of the Creator and paints a picture of creation bowing at the sound of His name. (“Lord of all the earth we shout your name, filling up the skies with endless praise.”) “Joy” expresses the hope that we receive from God’s unending faithfulness and grace, which gives believers a hope in their hearts that surpasses all sadness. (“When I think of all You’ve done, my heart is overcome with – joy, joy!”)
Having worked solely with longtime friend and producer Pete Kipley on all of his previous albums, Wickham decided to invite another producer into the process. Having respected producer Brown Bannister co-produce the album with he and Kipley was one of many decisions and intentional steps that Wickham took in an effort to stay true to his theme of the record – voicing not just his own response but our collective worship to God. “This record, more than any other of mine, was created for people to sing. I didn’t want this to be simply Phil Wickham’s Response To God, but instead songs that would invite other people to sing along with me and so I wanted to include a lot of people in the process.” This went beyond just who was sitting in the producer’s chair. “There are more musicians playing on the record than I normally work with – multiple drummers, bass players, etc and I wrote with more people on this record hoping to have these songs be an expression of everybody’s heart not just mine.”
In the end, Response, achieves what Wickham set out to accomplish - a collection of songs that give expression to our love and adoration of the Creator of the universe, our Savior and Lord, the God of the New and Old Testament – Yahweh and Emmanuel. In every circumstance we will praise and worship our King who has revealed Himself to us. This is our response.